Breast feeding is not something I could have easily written about in real-time. The mechanics of breast-feeding were very easy for Charlie and me. He latched on right away and I absolutely loved the connection of being his source of nourishment. I did not get sore or cracked nipples. I did not have to fight him to get him to eat. My breast-feeding challenge was mostly supply and secondarily, clogged ducts. I got mastitis 4 times! Mastitis is a very painful condition that comes with flu-like systems resulting from one or more clogged ducts. Despite Charlie being a great feeder and me loving to feed him, my milk was not on board.
First of all, I had one boob that grew to a small D cup and one boob that was a medium size B cup. I felt lopsided for my first 6 months post-partum. I had a hospital grade pump and would pump multiple times a day in between feeds, but it didn’t help my milk supply one bit. By pumping more often I did have a greater supply of milk, but it did not help generate more milk per feed or pump cycle.
I am friends or acquainted with over 35 women who had a baby or are expecting this year. This was before I even joined my mommy and me groups. Needless-to-say, I had a lot of exposure to breast-feeding moms. It would kill me when I would talk to them or go to a breast-feeding support group only to find that I was one of the only if not the only one with a milk supply that sucked. When I pumped I would only get 3 ounces, maximum. I had friends who could pump 10 – 12 ounces at a time with babies the same age, older or younger than Charlie. It had nothing to do with how old he was and how much milk he needed.
I used to blame it on having a preemie, but one of my closest friends had a baby 7 weeks early and her boobs are milk factories. My boobs were just underproducers. I had to pump 4 – 5 times a day to make 3 bottles worth of food for Charlie. Many of my other mom friends only had to pump once, maybe twice. I know we are not supposed to compare in the world of parenting, but sometimes it is hard not to. Especially, when it comes to the well-being of your child.
My low milk supply also left me feeling super guilty as a mother. I was supposed to be able to provide him the nourishment he needed. I understood that I could supplement with formula, but at the time I was convinced that I would be a bad mother if I didn’t exclusively breast feed.